Growing during the Super Famicom/ Mega Drive wars of the 90s, I was firmly in the SEGA camp. My grandfather bought me a Mega Drive as a birthday present in 1990, along with Sonic, Runark, Devil’s Crush and Golden Axe. Sonic was the game I played the most out of the four. To this day, the music from the stages still echo in my head. I’ve since played a ton of Sonic games over the years, but none (save for Sonic Adventure 2) have reignited my passion for the series…until I got to play Sonic Frontiers at the Thailand Game Show.
While I saw the game at the Tokyo Game Show, time constraints (Sky and I had appointments and meetings throughout the business days) meant that I never got to try it out at the SEGA booth. Thankfully, that’s rectified during the Thailand Game Show, where SEGA gave me hands-on time with the English build.
Playing Sonic Frontiers, I was instantly taken back to the days of Sonic Adventure (and its phenomenal sequel).
It’s a good sign because I love those games.
Sonic Frontiers is like all the best parts of Sonic Adventure 2 (no word on whether you can raise Chaos) brought over to modern consoles. The sense of speed is there (oh boy is it ever present), but it’s the open world that I’m most excited about.
The demo area reminded me of the wide open landscape of Ahch-To from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. You know, the place where the porgs and Luke Skywalker lived? It’s like that…cloudy, damp, with wide open plains bordered by the sea.
Instead of the lovable porgs though, I encountered these black robotic machine dudes. Very angular looking, very cool design. I don’t think they’re Eggman’s (or Robotnik if you prefer) since small animals don’t pop out of them when you destroy them so Sonic’s definitely up against a potentially new baddie in Sonic Frontiers.
You fight them the usual Sonic way of course; by smashing into them. The homing attack from Sonic Adventure 2 is back, which makes it really easy to face enemies. Just a single button tap while you’re in the air and Sonic homes in to the nearest target.
Sonic can also dodge now (hit the triggers and he’ll move sideways) which is really cool.
It’s also super useful against the mini-boss in demo, which fired rapid laser blasts at me from a crazy distance. I had to get in close to smash the bugger, which meant running headlong into danger while dodging left and right to avoid the lasers.
It’s incredibly cool and cinematic (though I wish Sonic’s dodges were more spectacular) and I really hope the rest of the game is like the demo.
That’s because the combat is fast, fluid and reminiscent of the best Sonic Adventure moments, which gets two thumbs up from me!
Speed is heavily present in the demo, especially in the linear stage you can access.
Here, Sonic is transported to another world which is unlocked when you complete certain structures. The stage I played was linear, evocative of those in Sonic Heroes, where the only goal is just to bum rush everything and make a beeline for the exit.
Here, the speed Sonic has access to is on full display.
Due to the smaller, more intimate nature of the stage, everything blazes across the screen as Sonic jumps, air dashes, grinds and sprints his way through. It’s classic Sonic and I loved every single moment of it.
Sonic Frontiers though, is more than just classic Sonic.
In fact, it’s more of an action RPG.
Sonic has a sizeable skill tree he’ll unlock as you level up!
In the demo, I managed to unlock a single skill; which allowed me to emit a trail behind Sonic as he ran. Make a complete circle with the trail and you might unlock hidden secrets (which I never found) or rings (which I found by the dozens).
I never got a good look at the other skills, but so I’m chomping at the bit to try them out when Sonic Frontiers releases in just a couple of weeks!
Its open world looks to be a joy to explore, especially with Sonic’s speed and moves. Combat’s great, the game looks cool and everything handles nicely.
Sonic Frontiers might just be the spiritual successor to the Sonic Adventure games we’ve all been waiting for.